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House Vote Seen as Big Step Toward Cooling the Greenhouse

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Science  03 Jul 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5936, pp. 16-17
DOI: 10.1126/science.325_16

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At the heart of the American Clean Energy and Security Act passed last Friday by the U.S. House of Representatives, cobbled together over several weeks by representatives Henry Waxman (D–CA) and Edward Markey (D–MA), is a so-called cap-and-trade system that assigns permits to pollute to those sectors of the economy that generate the bulk of the country's greenhouse gas emissions. The bill faces serious political challenges: After squeaking through the House on a vote of 219 to 212, with 44 Democrats opposing it and only eight Republicans supporting it, its future in the Senate is uncertain. If it becomes law, however, economists are optimistic that it will achieve significant reductions in carbon emissions.